Did you ever wonder what you need to do differently to care for your fur-kid during cold winter months?
Depending on where in the world you live, if you experience cold and snow there are some things you my want to do to give attention to when caring for your dog. The cold effects animals just like it affects us, they feel cold just as much as we do. A dog with a single coat (think Chihuahua, Toy Fox Terrier, Jack Russell terrier, poodles and the like) do not have that extra layer of undercoat fur and should likely have a sweater or coat, and shoes or boots when it gets very cold. This can protect them from the negative effects and should not be left outside for too long in very low temperatures. Double coated dogs are more tolerant to the cold, but again can still feel the effects of the cold and may need a sweater/ jacket and boots in very cold temperatures.
How often do your pups need to be bathed in the winter? The less, the better. Obviously, if they feel dirty, smell, or have rolled in something- would be a good time to bathe but bathing too much can dry their skin and leave them susceptible to the cold. After a bath let them dry completely before letting them outside or taking them for a walk. What about their skincare? Just like our skin becomes drier and flakier in the winter, so does theirs! Reducing bathing to once or twice a month will help to keep their natural oils in and help from becoming itchy. Keep your dog’s coat and skin in top condition by brushing daily to remove tangles, dirt, and dead hair, this increases skin circulation and distributes their natural oils. For long haired doggos, it’s not advised to sheer your dog’s coat short- but if needed, a trim and regular daily brush will help keep them detangled and warm.
Keeping your dogs nails trimmed is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. This keeps them from painful cracking and the effects of the cold ground felt through their nailbeds. To care for their pads, washing after walks through snow and salt with warm water and a cloth helps prevent over drying and cracking. Adding an all natural balm to the pads help keep them moisturized and protected just like lotion does for us. It is also important to trim your dog's fur around their paw-pads as excess this fur attracts snow and ice balls to form, creating severe discomfort and pain to your dog (especially during long walks or snow sports like skijoring) .
Should you flea treat your pet during the winter months? In short answer, yes. There are warm spells that could allow these parasitic hitchhikers to jump onto our dogs and could quickly become an infestation making them hard to get rid of. It’s the middle of January, and I live in western NY (the snowbelt- near Buffalo and notorious lake effect snow), and so far our winter has been rather mild.
The result? I found a flea on Rose when bathing her this week! We use Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs and the type for cats for our 2 kitties. So off came the collars, and we treated everyone with Advantage. What is the best flea an tick treatment for your household? My recommendation would be to check with your vet for their best options before you make a final purchase, and many times these can even be purchased right from your veterinarians office.
When it gets cold, the last thing we want to do is bundle up and step out in the white, wide cold tundra. However, if you have a dog more than likely they need regular walks and exercise to expend excess energy. Otherwise, you are going to have a frustrated doggo that will find trouble if they don’t have the opportunity to get those wiggles out! So as tough as it is, get out for that daily walk and perhaps you will find that you needed it just as much as they did.
In summary, taking care of your fur-family’s needs are just as important to address in the winter as any other time of the year. Many pups absolutely LOVE the winter and being outside playing in the snow. Making sure they are clean, warm, protected, and able to enjoy it, will bring for a happy pup and a happy pup makes for a happy life!